The visual effects in “Gandarrapiddo: The Revenger Squad” are way better than in “Ang Panday,” but for some reason the latter bagged the visual effects award in the recently concluded Metro Manila Film Festival Awards.
Joyce Bernal’s fantasy superhero film is your typical good versus evil. Superhero Gandarra (Vice Ganda) of the Revenger Squad, after killing off the evil Madman, suffers from amnesia—but not after taking into custody Madman’s little boy Chino, a.k.a., Rapiddo (Daniel Padilla).
The rest of the members of the squad decide to live a normal life in a charming two-storey bungalow and protect Chino and Gandarra’s real identity. Meanwhile, Gandarra’s sister Cassy (Pia Wurtzbach), who converted into the dark side, returns to wreak havoc.
The production design is colorful and adds to the viewing pleasure, and the movie is pretty fast-paced. Everyone delivers competent performances and the humor is a mix of funny, very funny, and supremely corny— therefore balancing the comedy experience.
Bernal and the five writers break the fourth wall and this is very cheesy. Also, the film has a disturbing streak of violence. Of course it is a superhero action flick—but its brand of violence sometimes goes beyond the battle scenes to the point of tasteless.
Overall, the movie doesn’t aim to be more than it is; embracing and having fun in its reputation as cheap entertainment. And because it’s not trying too hard, it manages to be tolerable and even moderately enjoyable.
Wurtzbach is beautiful to watch, the visual effects are not an eyesore, and there are sparks of wit that I did not expect to laugh out loud in several moments. Kaladkaren Davila is a clever addition here. Also, there is enough conflict to get you through.
“Fake news” is played a lot in the narrative, and it works. Apart from the violence, this is a significant improvement compared to the vulgar, offensive, and tremendously trashy “Super Parental Guardians.”
If you loathe Vice Ganda films, then there’s no reason to see it, but if forced to, you can surprisingly sit through this one without suffering. It’s silly, unpretentious, oftentimes funny, and a generally passable mainstream comedy flick.
2.5 out of 5 stars
Dec. 25, 2017, as part of the Metro Manila Film Festival